ore than 20 years ago, former President Corazon C. Aquino issued Proclamation No. 276 declaring December of every year as Month of Overseas Filipinos as a tribute for overseas Filipinos and encourage their participation in the development activities in the country. Recognizing their significant role in national development, the Philippine government, through the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), conducted various activities to honor overseas Filipinos for their outstanding achievements and contributions. One of these activities is the CFO Awards which was conferred by President Aquino to 34 overseas Filipino individuals and organizations in 1991.
In the same year, President Aquino issued Executive Order No. 498 institutionalizing the Awards naming it the Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas. The Executive Order specifically designated the CFO to develop an awards system for Filipino individuals and organizations overseas who have contributed, in the form of selfless programs and endeavors, to our country's relief, rehabilitation and development programs. Since its inception, the awards have so far been extended to 338 Filipino individuals and organizations from 44 countries. President Fidel V. Ramos conferred the first and second sets of Presidential Awards to 22 and 45 awardees in 1993 and 1996, respectively. President Joseph E. Estrada conferred the third and fourth sets of Presidential Awards to 30 and 59 awardees in 1998 and 2000, respectively. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo conferred the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth sets of Presidential Awards to 34 (with one special citation), 45, 48, and 31 awardees, in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008, respectively. President Benigno S. Aquino III conferred the last set of Presidential Awards to 24 awardees in 2010.
The Presidential Awards honors distinguished Filipino individuals and organizations overseas, who by their exceptional achievements or humanitarian efforts, have given form and substance to Filipino excellence and the time-honored values of pakikipag-kapwa, pagtutulungan, and pagkakaisa.
The awardees include exemplars of Filipino excellence, individuals who have dedicated their work in the service of the Filipino people, stewards of community initiatives that promote cooperation for the common good, and advocates for the promotion and protection of the rights of others. Civil society organizations based overseas, whose programs for intervention have helped improve the lives of others, particularly the marginalized, will also be honored in observance of the timeless tradition of pakikipagkapwa-tao and bayanihan.
Click here for the complete primer 2012 Presidential Awards.